Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #49

Day 49, and Now! #49, which was released on 30th July 2001.

July 2001
This is the way the world looked in July 2001. Those unflattering midriff-baring shirts with the American football style numbers on the front were all the rage, and I was taking full advantage of the Spanish weather to slob about in sarongs. Not the greatest look in my repertoire.

Time for some summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #49
Track 1: Robbie Williams – Eternity

This was a double A-side with The Road To Mandalay, which is a much better song, so I wish they’d included that one instead.  This track is a slow ballad, so it’s a bit dull for my liking.

Track 2: Gabrielle – Out Of Reach

I’ve always found the tune on this really annoying.  Not keen.

Track 3: Atomic Kitten – Eternal Flame

Fairly pointless cover of the Bangles classic, with upbeat instrumentals in the background, which are just generic and don’t improve anything.

Track 4: Blue – All Rise

One of those ubiquitous teenage party tracks.  Loved it at the time, still quite like it now – the lyrics are quite cute.

Track 5: S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’

More irritating cheese from S Club 7.  There’s just no edge to it at all – not my thing.

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – It’s Raining Men

Utterly pointless cover of the Weather Girls song, released as part of the Bridget Jones’ Diary soundtrack.  There’s nothing different from the original at all.

Track 7: Ronan Keating – Lovin’ Each Day

Irritating vocals, irritating tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 8: Stereophonics – Have A Nice Day

Another dull, drone-y one from Stereophonics.  Not a fan.

Track 9: Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

Absolutely loved it as an awkward teenager, obviously.  Still have a soft spot for this one.

Track 10: Blink-182 – The Rock Show

Another bit of pop-punk that I loved as a teenager – happily singing along right now!

Track 11: U2 – Elevation

Loved it at the time, loved the Tomb Raider tie-in video, loved the performance on Top of the Pops.  Still quite like the track.

Track 12: Outkast – Ms Jackson

Always really liked this odd song!  Great tune.

Track 13: Destiny’s Child – Survivor

Classic pop track with a great singalong chorus – good stuff.

Track 14: Hear’Say – The Way To Your Love

Nauseatingly saccharine, uninspired pop tune.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – More Than That

More cheesy, generic pop.  Utterly dull and forgettable.

Track 16: Britney Spears – Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know

Boring ballad with irritating jarring melodies between vocals and instrumentals – not my thing at all.

Track 17: Marti Pellow – Close To You

Another dull ballad.  Can we get an upbeat track soon?

Track 18: Dido – Thank You

The beautiful, melancholy verses (sampled so brilliantly on Eminem’s Stan) are a stunning piece of music.  When the chorus shows up and switches to major key and an irritating tune, it ruins the song completely.  This has always really annoyed me.

Track 19: Zero 7 – Destiny

Chillout track with a boring tune.  Not a fan.

Track 20: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Pretty tune, great melancholy atmosphere, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue [Ringbang Remix]

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

‘Remix’ of the 1982 classic with some drum ‘n’ bass beats at the start and some motorbike noises over the top.  Other than that, it’s pretty much identical to the original version, which is a classic ’80s record, so I won’t moan.

Track 22: Gorillaz – 19-2000

Oh, it’s this one!  Quite like the beepy instrumentals and the tune – good stuff.

Track 23: DJ Pied Piper and The Masters Of Ceremonies – Do You Really Like It?

Unbearably irritating chorus, probably one of the worst so far on this Now! marathon.

Track 24: Mis-Teeq – All I Want

Good atmosphere, great chorus, but the track is a little frantic and messy.

Track 25: Roger Sanchez – Another Chance

I’ve always found this tune a bit annoying, but the beat is quite danceable.

Track 26: Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Good head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 27: Da Hool – Meet Her At The Love Parade

Irritating squeaky hook on the intro, then it launches into some generic drum lines before bringing back the squeaky hook and getting very repetitive.  Not my thing.

Track 28: Ian Van Dahl – Castles In The Sky

Highly annoying trance track – never been keen on this one.

Track 29: Fragma – You Are Alive

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 30: Steps – Here And Now

Cheesy, annoying tune – not one of Steps’ best.

Track 31: A*Teens – Upside Down

Formerly just an Abba tribute band, this lot started doing original tracks with an Abba-sounding tinge on their second album.  This song is pretty awful – very generic pop with no edge.

Track 32: Bellefire – Perfect Bliss

Nice tune, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 33: Texas – I Don’t Want A Lover [2001 Mix]

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

‘Remix’ of the 1989 track, which is basically the original track with some annoying ‘wub’ bits over the top.  As with Electric Avenue, I’m not going to complain (but give me the original version any day).

Track 34: Boris Dlugosch and Róisín Murphy – Never Enough

Once it actually gets out of the drum intro, it’s quite a good tune with some interesting instrumentals.

Track 35: Janet Jackson – All For You

Good beat, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 36: Eve – Who’s That Girl

Good singalong chorus, happily nodding along.

Track 37: Nelly and City Spud – Ride Wit Me

Classic tune, always liked this one – great chorus.

Track 38: Sisqó – Dance For Me

Spanish guitar on the intro, which is always a plus in my book.  The rest of the track’s got a good atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 39: Aaron Soul – Ring, Ring, Ring

Good vocals, okay tune, but there’s not really anything interesting going on here.

Track 40: Damage – So What If I…?

Fairly uninspired tune, very forgettable.

Track 41: Melanie B – Lullaby

Cheesy track about Melanie B’s then-baby daughter.  It’s far too saccharine for me.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #48

Day 48 means Now! #48, which was released on 9th April 2001.

April 2001
This is how the world looked in April 2001 (actually May). No family photos from spring 2001, so here’s a pretty vista photo that Mum took on a work trip to the Czech Republic.

Wikipedia has an interesting factoid about Now! #48: it is the favourite album of the character Kayleigh from Peter Kay’s Car Share (NO SPOILERS FOR THAT PLEASE, I know the final special episode aired last night but Geth and I have not seen any of the series yet and we want to catch up with it at some point!).  As a result, it charted on Amazon in spring 2017 despite being out of print.  Impressive!

Now! That's What I Call Music #48
Track 1: Atomic Kitten – Whole Again

Found it too cheesy at the time, still do nowadays.  This was the one where Kerry Katona left and they released a new version of the video with Jenny Frost replacing her, so there’s still two versions of it kicking about on the music channels.

Track 2: Hear’Say – Pure And Simple

The first of the noughties talent show winners, which was where pop music really started to go downhill.  Awful, irritating song.

Track 3: S Club 7 – Never Had A Dream Come True

It’s one of those ones that is a Christmas song nowadays.  Nice tune, but it’s a bit overplayed.

Track 4: Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird

I’d not thought about this one for a while.  The tune’s okay, but I’ve always found the chorus a bit annoying.

Track 5: Shaggy and RikRok – It Wasn’t Me

Absolutely awful theme, but it’s a great tune!

Track 6: Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

I remember everyone going on at the time about how ‘revolutionary’ the idea of a virtual band was, but really all it involved was the musicians using pseudonyms and getting some cartoons made for the videos.  It’s a good song, other than the fact it’s a bit drone-y.

Track 7: Modjo – Chillin’

Slight ’70s tinge, which is no bad thing.  The tune’s pretty dull though.

Track 8: Chocolate Puma – I Wanna Be U

Boring, tuneless, not my thing.

Track 9: Fragma and Maria Rubia – Everytime You Need Me

‘Every time’ should be two words ARGH.

Leaving aside their awful grammar, though, I quite like this tune.

Track 10: Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love

I find the vocals on this one a bit annoying – not hugely keen.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Stronger

Great atmosphere, good tune, though I’ve always been really annoyed by that callback to …Baby One More Time in the chorus!

Track 12: Steps – It’s The Way You Make Me Feel

Nice tune.  It’s pretty saccharine, but I still quite like this one.

Track 13: Emma Bunton – What Took You So Long

Good tune, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 14: Ronan Keating and Bryan Adams – The Way You Make Me Feel

It’s almost a repeated title from the Steps offering above, but it’s a very different song – this one is a dodgy nausea-inducing guitar ballad.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – Shape Of My Heart

Super saccharine, but the tune’s okay.

Track 16: LeAnn Rimes – I Need You

Extremely boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 17: Damage – Still Be Lovin’ You

Another irritatingly cheesy track with a dull tune.

Track 18: Kaci Battaglia – Paradise

Nice atmosphere, like the Latin tinge and Spanish guitar.  Good track.

Track 19: Martine McCutcheon – On The Radio

Pointless cover of the Donna Summer classic.  Nothing new here at all, except the irritating ’00s hi-hat on the backing track.

Track 20: Kylie Minogue – Please Stay

Lovely atmosphere, with more Spanish guitar – loving that trend!  Gorgeous tune.

Track 21: Bob The Builder – Can We Fix It?

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

I read ages ago (I can’t find a link so hopefully this daft concept has disappeared from the public imagination) that your ‘life song’ is supposed to be the song that was number one on your sixteenth birthday.  Being a tail-end-of-Christmas baby, my birthday number one is usually still whatever was number one for Christmas.  For my sixteenth birthday, it was this novelty charity single from the kids’ TV show Bob The Builder.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to say about my life.

Track 22: Eva Cassidy – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Slow, acoustic cover of the Judy Garland number from The Wizard Of Oz.  Beautiful vocals, but the style’s not my kind of thing.

Track 23: U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

I’ve always quite liked this one – good tune, interesting lyrics.

Track 24: Stereophonics – Mr Writer

Good guitar riff, but the vocals are depressing and drone-y.

Track 25: Coldplay – Don’t Panic

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s okay, but it’s pretty dull.

Track 26: Texas – Inner Smile

Great tune, great singalong chorus – really like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Let Love Be Your Energy

Nice tune, interesting vocals, though Robbie Williams is still trying to do the Britpop thing a few years after it ended.

Track 28: Feeder – Buck Rogers

Great, classic singalong rock track.  Loved it at the time, still really like it now, with bonus amusement at the notion that a car having a CD player made it top of the range in 2001.  Also, I could never work out whether the lyric was ‘drink cider from a lemon‘ or ‘drink cider from eleven‘.

Track 29: Papa Roach – Last Resort

This pop-punk classic was a bit of a soundtrack song in my teens – we always had it blasting at parties and in cars and so on.  I still quite like the track.

Track 30: Planet Funk – Chase The Sun

Nice tune, but it’s too repetitive for me.

Track 31: Safri Duo – Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)

Good beat (obviously), good danceable track, though the trance bit is fairly generic.

Track 32: Dario G – Dream To Me

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Cover of the Cranberries’ Dreams.  High-pitched classical/opera-style bit irritates throughout, and is joined by an uninspired trance beat.  The whole thing is a bit messy.

Track 33: Jakatta – American Dream

Oh, it’s this one.  Quite like the clangy instrumental, but it’s a bit dull otherwise.

Track 34: Sonique – I Put A Spell On You

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Spiky, upbeat, atmospheric cover of the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll classic.  Really like this one.

Track 35: Melanie B – Feels So Good

Irritating, repetitive tune – not keen on this track.

Track 36: Mýa – Case Of The Ex

Great atmosphere, good tune, great singalong bit on the bridge and chorus.  Good stuff.

Track 37: Chanté Moore – Straight Up

Highly irritating tinkly xylophone-sounding instrumental at the start, then it launches into an uninspired tune.  The vocals are okay, but it’s generally not my thing.

Track 38: Joe – Stutter

Boring tune, irritating lines, annoying theme.  Not keen on this one.

Track 39: Architechs – Show Me The Money

Too repetitive for me, and the tune’s very generic.

Track 40: DJ Luck & MC Neat – Piano Loco

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Nice Latin flavour – good danceable track.  Could do without the added ‘wub’ bits and rap though, it makes it very messy.

Track 41: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Loco

A slower type of loco here, maybe because there’s no piano this time.  Still a good helping of Spanish vocals though, so I quite like it.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #46

Day 46 means Now! #46, which takes us to 24th July 2000.

July 2000
This is how the world looked in July 2000, though I think that bit of Ireland has looked that way for some time! I wore that orange Miss Selfridge shirt to death – I had a lime green one as well.

Let’s see what the hits were that summer.

Now! That's What I Call Music #46
Track 1: Britney Spears – Oops! I Did It Again

I thought it was okay at the time, but find it insanely annoying now after hearing it intermittently for eighteen years.

Track 2: S Club 7 – Reach

Thought it was insufferably awful then, still think that now.  Cheesy and twee.

Track 3: Sonique – It Feels So Good

Nice tune – quite like this one.

Track 4: Mary Mary – Shackles (Praise You)

Great atmosphere, good tune.  Happily nodding along.

Track 5: Samantha Mumba – Gotta Tell You

Loved this at the time and bought the single.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 6: Gabrielle – When A Woman

Upbeat, head-noddable track, but the feelgood vocals are a bit irritating for me.

Track 7: Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around

Classic tune, classic video.  Always really liked this track – it’s very danceable.

Track 8: Tom Jones and Mousse T – Sex Bomb

Another great danceable track that was everywhere at the time.  Good stuff.

Track 9: Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

Generally known as ‘the Discovery Channel song’, this one is an absolute classic – I’ve always loved that instrumental, and the theme is hilarious.

Track 10: Shania Twain – Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)

Quite like the folky instrumentals, but the vocals on this one annoy me.

Track 11: Billie Piper – Day And Night

Billie Piper going for a more grown-up sound on her second album meant that her stuff was no longer squeaky and irritating but was instead nice solid pop.  This one is a great tune with a good atmosphere.

Track 12: Louise – 2 Faced

Generic, dull tune – not keen on this one.

Track 13: Aaliyah – Try Again

Great atmosphere, interesting lines.  Really like this one.

Track 14: NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye

I don’t remember NSYNC being that huge generally in the UK, but this track was a fairly big hit.  It’s got a good atmosphere – solid piece of pop.

Track 15: Damage – Ghetto Romance

You know it’s the noughties when lyrics like ‘body like a racecar‘ start to show up in the charts.  Generic, irritating track.

Track 16: Steps – When I Said Goodbye

This was released as a double A-side with Summer Of Love, which is a much, much better song, so I can’t help wishing the Now! compilers had chosen that one instead for this summer release.  If previous patterns are anything to go by, though, it’ll probably show up on the November one.

This track is a slow, boring ballad, and I’m not keen on those.

Track 17: Stephen Gately – New Beginning

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Nice atmosphere on this one, nice epic chorus.  Quite like this track.

Track 18: Backstreet Boys – The One

Good beat, interesting instrumentals, but the vocals are pretty generic and dull.

Track 19: Moby – Porcelain

Oh, it’s this one!  Nice chillout track, like the tinkly piano.

Track 20: Coldplay – Yellow

Another indicator it’s now the noughties: Coldplay show up for the first time.  Yellow has quite a good intro, but it all goes downhill when Chris Martin opens his mouth, which may become a bit of a theme, as I’ve got a feeling this is not the last time they’ll feature on these Now! compilations.

Track 21: Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers

The Verve frontman goes solo.  Unfortunately this track’s just as depressing as the stuff he was doing with the Verve, although I do quite like the sax on the intro.

Track 22: Black Legend – You See The Trouble With Me

Irritating house cover of the Barry White classic that gets rid of most of the melody.  Not keen at all.

Track 23: Spiller and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

Great tune, great atmosphere, great danceable beat – love this track.

Track 24: Darude – Sandstorm

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic dance track, great hook.

Track 25: York – On The Beach

Another dance track with a memorable hook that I’m guessing most people would recognise but couldn’t name.  Quite like this one.

Track 26: Marc et Claude – I Need Your Lovin’ (Like The Sunshine)

Good atmosphere on the intro, segueing into a great dance track.  Really like this.

Track 27: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – The Power Of Love [Rob Searle Club Mix]

Remix of the 1984 classic, which is very definitely considered a Christmas song nowadays and hence feels out of place both in May 2018 as I write this and in July 2000 when this compilation was released.  It is nice to see some love for old ’80s tracks, although this remix only really uses one instrumental line from the track to begin with, and as such the first four minutes are fairly unrecognisable before it launches into the well-known first verse.  After that, it gets a bit messy and super trance-y.

Track 28: Different Gear and The Police – When The World Is Running Down (You Can’t Go Wrong)

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM)

Irritating sample on the intro, before it launches into the remix of the 1980 Police track.  It’s pretty dull and repetitive.

Track 29: Southside Spinners – Luvstruck

Boring, generic dance track with irritating orgasm noises over the top.

Track 30: Alice Deejay – Will I Ever

Annoying tune, not keen.  I’m starting to fear that the imaginary ’00s nightclub (the setting for these Now! disc 2s full of dance tracks that started to become the pattern in the mid-’90s) will be even worse than the ’90s one.

Track 31: Angelic – It’s My Turn

Quite like the instrumentals and the atmosphere, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 32: Rank 1 – Airwave

Generic dance tune, very dull.  Not a fan.

Track 33: B-15 Project, Crissy D and Lady G – Girls Like Us

Quite like the chorus, but otherwise it’s a bit messy for my liking.

Track 34: Lonyo – Summer Of Love

Quite like the Latin-tinged backing vocals, but the main tune is a bit cheesy.

Track 35: MJ Cole – Crazy Love

Really like the tune on the intro…then it launches into the world’s most annoying vocals.  Urgh.

Track 36: DJ Luck & MC Neat and JJ – Masterblaster 2000

Cover of the 1980 Stevie Wonder track, with ‘bonus’ No Diggity sample.  It’s upbeat and danceable, but I’m not sure about the tune.

Track 37: Tru Faith and Dub Conspiracy – Freak Like Me

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Great atmosphere on this cover of the Adina Howard track, later made more famous by the Sugababes.  Love those instrumentals.

Track 38: Jamelia – Call Me

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 39: Vengaboys – Uncle John From Jamaica

More lively Eurodance from the Vengaboys.  The tune on this one’s a little irritating.

Track 40: Fe-M@il – Flee Fly Flo

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

I’d forgotten about this daft call-and-response track.  It’s at least different, but it’s pretty cheesy and annoying.

Track 41: Scooch – For Sure

Twee and irritating tune – not keen on this one.

Track 42: Atomic Kitten – I Want Your Love

I quite liked this retro-tinged atmospheric track at the time, but I find it a bit headache-inducing nowadays.

Track 43: Steps – Deeper Shade Of Blue

Repeated artist alert!  Now I’m even more annoyed that they didn’t include Summer Of Love.

This dance-infused track’s got a good beat and atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals irritates me a bit nowadays.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #37

Day 37, and Now! #37, released 14th July 1997.

July 1997
This is how the world looked in July 1997 – and given how long those Hebridean structures have been standing, it’s how the world has looked for quite some time. I loved those leggings at the time, though I’m not quite sure about them now.

Let’s have a listen to some artists who have almost certainly never played live in the Outer Hebrides.

Now! That's What I Call Music #37
Track 1: Hanson – MMMBop

Loved Hanson at the time, as did all my friends – my walls were covered in their posters!  Nowadays I find this one pretty cringeworthy though.

Track 2: Eternal and Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be The Only One

I’ve always quite liked this one – the chorus is great.

Track 3: The Cardigans – Lovefool

A huge favourite!  Loved it then, love it now.  Gorgeous tune.

Track 4: No Doubt – Just A Girl

Another great tune from No Doubt – great beat, great instrumentals.

Track 5: Sash! and Rodriguez – Ecuador

I adored this at the time and played it over and over.  It’s still my favourite Sash! track.

Track 6: No Mercy – Where Do You Go

I’d totally forgotten about this one.  It’s quite a good dance track, through I’m not hugely keen on the chorus reference to ’60s hit Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), which I find to be a super irritating song!

Track 7: Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are

This was a double A-side with Mama, and this is undoubtedly the better song in my opinion.  It was the Comic Relief single for 1997, and it had a dance to go with it, which was the absolute best thing a song could have at the time.  Great tune.

Track 8: Ultra Naté – Free

Annoyed by it at the time, still find the chorus a bit irritating now.

Track 9: Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close

Oh, it’s this one!  The backing track is dull, but there’s something I find quite endearing about the vocals.

Track 10: George Michael – Star People

Quite like the instrumentals, but it’s a boring tune.

Track 11: En Vogue – Don’t Let Go (Love)

Absolutely beautiful song – love this one.

Track 12: Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody

Originally an ’80s track, but this is the version everybody knows.  I’ve never been that keen on this tune – I don’t like the chorus.

Track 13: Coolio and 40 Thevz – C U When U Get There

I like the sample from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, even when it goes a bit electro and odd.  The rap’s a bit generic, though.

Track 14: Warren G and Ron Isley – Smokin’ Me Out

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Nice atmosphere on the intro, but I find the rest of the track a bit messy.

Track 15: R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

Quite liked it at the time, find it massively overplayed and irritating now.

Track 16: Damage – Wonderful Tonight

Soul-tinged cover of the Eric Clapton classic, generally a bit uninspired.  Not different enough to be worthwhile in my opinion (even if they do change the blonde subject of the song into a brunette!).

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: this was the first version of this song I ever heard.  I still can’t believe that.

Track 17: 911 – The Journey

Slow, dull ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 18: Boyzone – Isn’t It A Wonder

This one’s far too saccharine for me, I’m afraid.

Track 19: Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

I suggested this song the other day when Geth and I were in the pub trying to come up with songs that had ‘game‘ in the title for a boardgame-themed playlist.  I wouldn’t actually put it in a playlist, though, ’cause it’s cheesy and irritating.

Track 20: N-Tyce – Hey DJ! (Play That Song)

I quite like the backing track, but the vocals are super annoying.

Track 21: Foxy Brown and Jay-Z – I’ll Be

The rap is good, but there’s not enough of a tune for me.

Track 22: Wet Wet Wet – If I Never See You Again

Slow beat, slightly irritating tune, but at least it’s got a nice classic edge to it.

Track 23: U2 – Staring At The Sun

Nice atmosphere, but again, the tune is slow and dull.

Track 24: The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Overplayed at the time, irritating now, and of course it’s not helped by that infuriating video.

Track 25: The Seahorses – Love Is The Law

Really like the guitar intro and the melody – great tune.

Track 26: Ocean Colour Scene – Hundred Mile High City

Another rock classic from OCS, with a slightly ’60s tinge about it.  Awesome track.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

I like the theme, but I’m not hugely keen on the tune.

Track 28: Cast – Guiding Star

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found the vocal hook super annoying – not a fan.

Track 29: Paul McCartney – Young Boy

Nice upbeat track, like the tune.  Good stuff.

Track 30: Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good

The ‘change’ here for me is that I actually quite like this one, which is a first for the Sheryl Crow tracks that have been on Now! compilations so far.  Nice beat and atmosphere on the verses.

Track 31: Radiohead – Paranoid Android

Nice tune on the instrumentals, but the vocal line is depressing (and not in a good way).

Track 32: Texas – Halo

Lovely tune, apart from the chorus, which annoys me.

Track 33: Supergrass – Sun Hits The Sky

And this one’s vice versa – irritating, repetitive tune on the verses, but the chorus is all right.

Track 34: James – Waltzing Along

Great track – love the melody on this one, and the atmosphere’s really nice too.

Track 35: Blur – On Your Own

Great beat, interesting instrumentals, but once the vocal is added to the mix it becomes a bit messy.

Track 36: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Scooby Snacks

I’ve always really liked this one!  Great singalong track.

Track 37: Orbital – The Saint

Electronica cover of the theme tune to The Saint.  It’s as random as it sounds.

Track 38: Brainbug – Nightmare

Great spiky electro dance, really like this one.

Track 39: The Course – Ain’t Nobody

Messy dance cover of the Chaka Khan classic.  It’s pretty atrocious.

Track 40: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Something Going On

Oh, it’s this one!  Generic beat to start off, but the vocals are quite nice.

Track 41: Diddy – Give Me Love

No, it’s not the hip-hop act – he was known as ‘Puff Daddy’ at the time.  ’90s Diddy was a dance producer, and I reckon he should probably have sued when Puff Daddy decided to change his name.

The track is a pretty generic dance offering, very forgettable.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #36

Day 36 brings us to Now! #36, which was released on 24th March 1997.

March 1997
This is how the world looked in March 1997. I’ve not been back to Malta since, so I don’t know how much it’s changed, but I know I don’t wear cycling shorts as daywear anymore.

Let’s see what would have been in my headphones on the plane to Malta.

Now! That's What I Call Music #36
Track 1: Spice Girls – Mama

So I guess every Now! compilation is going to feature a Spice Girls track for a few albums?  Okay then.

Mama wasn’t my favourite at the time – it was just a bit slow for me – and I’m not keen now either.  I’ve always preferred their more upbeat stuff.

Track 2: Texas – Say What You Want

Liked it at the time, find the tune a bit annoying now.

Track 3: Bee Gees – Alone

Nice classic-sounding track from the Bee Gees – lovely tune.

Track 4: The Beautiful South – Don’t Marry Her

Nice guitar intro, but I’m not hugely keen on the rest of the track.

Track 5: No Doubt – Don’t Speak

Gorgeous song – beautiful tune, lovely theme.  A classic.

Track 6: White Town – Your Woman

Great track – I absolutely love those spiky instrumental hooks.

Track 7: Blue Boy – Remember Me

Oh, it’s this one!  Interesting lines, quite like the vocal.

Track 8: Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Loved it then, still quite like it now.  At the time I couldn’t stop watching the classic video, which isn’t quite as impressive nowadays as it was twenty-two years ago but is still pretty cool.

Track 9: Robert Miles and Maria Nayler – One And One

Nice tune, but the vocals are a bit annoying.

Track 10: George Michael – Spinning The Wheel

I’ve always liked this one – lovely tune, great beat.

Track 11: Mark Morrison – Horny

Messy, irritating song.  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 12: Peter Andre – Natural

Generic tune, annoying vocals.  Not keen.

Track 13: Damage – Love Guaranteed

More cheesy pop-by-numbers – there’s nothing original or interesting about this.

Track 14: Eternal – Don’t You Love Me

Nice intro, great atmosphere, good instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 15: Gabrielle – Walk On By

Awesome atmosphere, really interesting track.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Kavana – I Can Make You Feel Good

Kavana was a bit of a Smash Hits darling at the time, but I was never much of a fan.  This is okay though – nice solid pop song.

Track 17: East 17 – Hey Child

Nice harmony on the vocals, and the tune is pleasant, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 18: Boyzone – A Different Beat

One of the better Boyzone tracks – really like the tune on the chorus.

Track 19: Backstreet Boys – Anywhere For You

Saccharine and dull.  Not a fan.

Track 20: 911 – The Day We Find Love

Slow dull ballad from 911.  They definitely did better songs, from what I remember.

Track 21: U2 – Discothèque

It’s a bit messy, but it’s also quite refreshingly different at this point, what with the slightly harder rock guitars.

Track 22: The Prodigy – Breathe

Great danceable track, great vocals.  Really like this one.

Track 23: The Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats

Liked it at the time, find the tune annoying and repetitive now.

Track 24: Placebo – Nancy Boy

Love this one!  Great guitar intro, great tune, awesome lyrics.  Another classic.

Track 25: Monaco – What Do You Want From Me?

Oh, it’s this one!  Great tune, good atmosphere, really like this track.

Track 26: Sheryl Crow – Everyday Is A Winding Road

Another Sheryl Crow song where I can’t get past the annoying tune.  Also, the word(s) in the title should be ‘every day‘, not ‘everyday‘.

Track 27: Blur – Beetlebum

It’s not the kind of song I’d typically like, but I’m quite fond of this one – happily nodding away here.

Track 28: James – She’s A Star

Nice tune, nice atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 29: Mansun – Wide Open Space

Interesting tune, good atmosphere, good stuff.

Track 30: Cast – Free Me

Dull, repetitive tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 31: Space – Dark Clouds

I quite like the instrumentals and atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 32: Cathy Dennis – Waterloo Sunset

Guitar-driven cover of the Kinks classic.  It’s quite a nice version, but it doesn’t change much from the original.

Track 33: The Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You)

Sweet upbeat tune, quite like this one.

Track 34: Alisha’s Attic – Indestructible

Interesting instrumentals (nice to hear a bit of synth!) but it’s a little slow for my liking.

Track 35: Ant & Dec – Shout

Bizarrely serious-sounding song for Ant & Dec, with dodgy ‘homage’ to Tears For Fears’ Shout during the chorus.  The only saving grace is Erasure’s Andy Bell on backing vocals (though I’ve no idea what he was doing there).

Track 36: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #19!  Do they think nobody was listening back then?

Grr.  See the link for my review.

Track 37: Sash! – Encore Une Fois

I adored this one at the time, but I don’t think it’s aged that well, and I find it a bit so-so nowadays.

Track 38: DJ Quicksilver – Bellissima

Loved it then, still quite like it now – great tune.

Track 39: BBE – Flash

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Like the hooks, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 40: Amen! – Passion

Really like the instrumental hook, but I don’t like the vocals at all!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #35

Day 35 equals Now! #35, which takes us to 18th November 1996.

November 1996
This is the way the world looked in November 1996 (well, obviously it wasn’t actually November, as I wouldn’t have been wearing short sleeves in November in Scotland – this was September, as we didn’t take any photos in the latter part of the year for some reason). I don’t know why I chose those trainers, ’cause I thought they were super ugly even at the time.

Let’s listen to some tracks by people who were probably better dressed, even if it was the sartorially-challenged ’90s.

Now! That's What I Call Music #35
Track 1: Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There

The eagerly-awaited (by me, anyway) follow-up to Wannabe.  With hindsight, this song’s actually pretty poor, with a dull tune and generic theme; however, it’s quite hard to separate it from the nostalgia for me, so I still have a soft spot for it.

Track 2: George Michael – Fastlove

Lovely atmosphere, great vocal hooks – really like this one.

Track 3: Peter Andre – Flava

The instrumentals are quite fun, but the vocals are pretty annoying, and that rap is super generic.

Track 4: East 17 and Gabrielle – If You Ever

Really like the intro, and it’s got a lovely tune and atmosphere.

Track 5: Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Loved it then, love it now.  This one was a youth club classic during my first year of high school.  Great theme, great lyrics, lovely tune.

Track 6: Pet Shop Boys – Se A Vida É (That’s The Way Life Is)

I’ve always liked this one – a nice slower track with a feelgood atmosphere.

Track 7: Babybird – You’re Gorgeous

Found it annoying at the time, really quite like it now.  Love the theme and the instrumentals.

Track 8: The Beautiful South – Rotterdam

This one, on the other hand, I’ve never stopped finding annoying.  It’s that irritating chorus.

Track 9: Dodgy – If You’re Thinking Of Me

This is Dodgy’s slow, dull one.  I don’t think I even enjoyed it when I saw it live.

Track 10: Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over

Crowded House’s late ’80s classic, back in the charts – I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining.  Lovely tune.

Track 11: The Bluetones – Marblehead Johnson

Oh, it’s this one!  Great guitar hook, nice tune.

Track 12: Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

An all-time favourite!  Absolute anthem, epic energy, great lyrics, wonderful guitar riff.  I adore this one.

Track 13: Sheryl Crow – If It Makes You Happy

I’ve always found this one annoying – not keen on the tune.

Track 14: Garbage and Tricky – Milk

Great atmosphere – really like this track.

Track 15: Neneh Cherry – Woman

Nice epic intro, awesome atmosphere all the way through.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Lighthouse Family – Goodbye Heartbreak

Nice to hear some saxophone at this late stage!  The rest of the track is a little dull, although the ‘I don’t need you now‘ bit has quite a good singalong aspect.

Track 17: Pulp – Something Changed

Nice tune, nice instrumentals, great epic chorus.  Lovely track.

Track 18: Cast – Flying

Oh, it’s this one.  Found it a bit dreary at the time, still do now.  Just not keen on the tune.

Track 19: Suede – Beautiful Ones

Good upbeat track, great tune, great lyrics.  Another solid song from Suede.

Track 20: Belinda Carlisle – Always Breaking My Heart

Nice guitar intro, nice classic-sounding track, great chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 21: Dina Carroll – Escaping

Interesting chillout bit at the start, nice beat during the verses.  Not a typical Dina Carroll ballad, which is a welcome relief.

Track 22: Boyzone – Words

Introspective cover of the Bee Gees classic.  Lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Track 23: Eternal – Someday

Fairly paint-by-numbers ballad that was released to tie in with Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame film.  As such, it’s very musical-theatre-sounding.

Track 24: Backstreet Boys – I’ll Never Break Your Heart

Far too saccharine for me, and also now a Christmas-associated song thanks to the music channels (the video‘s set in a ski lodge, which I guess is why it gets put on the Christmas playlists).

Track 25: Damage – Love II Love

Oh, it’s this one.  Never been keen on this – the chorus is repetitive and irritating.

Track 26: Clock – Oh What A Night

Fairly pointless cover of the Four Seasons classic.  The main addition is the rap over the top.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not great.

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: this was the version that introduced me to this song.

Track 27: Louise – Undivided Love

Good beat, but it’s a pretty generic pop tune.

Track 28: Ant & Dec – When I Fall In Love

Ant & Dec, now having changed their name from PJ & Duncan (see Now! #31 review for discussion of why), try their hand at a ballad (well, it’s a ballad until the chant-along chorus kicks in, anyway).  Horrific!

Track 29: 911 – Don’t Make Me Wait

Great, interesting piano intro.  It leads into a fairly generic and cheesy pop track, though.

Track 30: Strike – My Love Is For Real

I quite like the verses on this dance track – there’s a bit of edge there – but the tune is pretty uninspired.

Track 31: Faithless – Insomnia

Classic dance track, great epic atmosphere, wonderful electro hook.

Track 32: BBE – Seven Days And One Week

Oh, it’s this one.  I think I liked this more at the time than I do now – it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 33: Stretch ‘N’ Vern – I’m Alive

Loved it at the time, forgot about it for over twenty years, can’t say I’m too keen on it now.  The backing track is great, but the rap’s fairly awful.  I quite like the Boogie Wonderland sample though.

Track 34: Healy & Amos – Stamp!

I think I’m back in the imaginary ’90s nightclub that plays nothing but dance, although to be fair 1996 isn’t quite as bad as 1995 was.  This one has some interesting lines, but it’s a bit messy for my liking.

Track 35: Livin’ Joy – Follow The Rules

Another very generic dance track – nothing special here.

Track 36: Wildchild – Jump To My Beat

Very messy track with irritating lines.  Don’t like this at all.

Track 37: Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

Dull lines, very little melody, messy track.  The beat’s quite good though.

Track 38: Space – Neighbourhood

Great atmosphere, great instrumentals, really nice track.

Track 39: Björk – Possibly Maybe

Not keen on the experimental-sounding instrumentals – they’re giving me a headache – but the vocal is nice when I can hear it over the top.

Track 40: Shed Seven – Chasing Rainbows

One of my friends had a poster of Shed Seven on the wall even though she didn’t really like them.  I think she’d got it free when they were supporting someone else.  That sort of sums up Shed Seven for me – they weren’t really a band that anybody actually liked.

The track itself is dull, slow and very forgettable.